State Department Keeps Funding WHO Regional Office that Violates U.S. Law
WASHINGTON, May 1 (C-Fam) Last week, the U.S. State Department decided to continue funding the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), while defunding its parent organization, the World Health Organization (WHO). PAHO’s promotion of abortion is at odds with Trump administration foreign policy, and it also violates the Siljander Amendment to U.S. foreign aid law which forbids U.S. funding being used to lobby for or against abortion.
In March of 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a funding cut of $210,000 to the Organization of American States (OAS), citing promotion of abortion by the OAS subsidiary bodies on human rights and women’s issues. These continue to promote abortion in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. The State Department did not defund PAHO at that time. PAHO escaped funding cuts again last week because State Department lawyers argued it was not part of WHO, a source told the Friday Fax.
In fact, PAHO is both the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System and the Regional Office for the Americas of the WHO. The organization notably backed UNICEF when it advocated to keep abortion legal in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
In “Reproductive Health and Healthy Motherhood: Aligning National Legislation with International Human Rights Law,” PAHO identified “challenges with respect to reproductive rights and healthy motherhood,” including “legal provisions that restrict human rights, such as the dissemination of confidential information on reproductive health; restricted access to emergency oral contraceptives (EOC) and family planning methods; and a lack of protocols for therapeutic abortion.”
PAHO further identified legal “obstacles” to the human rights of adolescents, including “[i]nsufficient safe, confidential, institutional services for sexual and reproductive health that offer information, counseling, and the interruption of pregnancy,” and “lack of protocols for the therapeutic interruption of pregnancy” for minors.
PAHO cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, none of which mention abortion or obligate nations to legalize it or provide it. It also cites the International Conference on Population and Development, a 1994 conference whose participants expressly rejected a human right to abortion. The report’s authors work for both PAHO and WHO, according to the report. Among their co-authors is the pro-abortion public interest law firm Center for Reproductive Rights.
PAHO endorses WHO protocols that advance abortion as maternal health care. In “Packages of Interventions for Family Planning, Safe Abortion Care, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health” it backs “guiding principles” including “ensuring universal access to family planning, safe abortion, maternal, newborn and child health care.” The guidance includes “policy broadening legal grounds for safe abortion, universal access to safe services, universal knowledge about the law and services and importance of safe abortion care.”
In an April 2010 meeting co-organized with Planned Parenthood of America, PAHO developed “strategies and initiatives that advance women’s reproductive rights in PAHO Member States,” to “review mandates, strategies and best practices” with emphasis on “family planning, oral emergency contraception, and prevention of unplanned pregnancies.” At another event, PAHO endorsed the expansion of abortion in Panama.
The amendment to U.S. law, named after Rep. Mark Siljander, applies to all foreign assistance funds available through annual appropriations, including health, development, economic support, transition initiatives, complex crises funds, and others.